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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 10-15-2013, 09:54 PM   #1
RClark115
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Default New guy. Need help choosing new vice

Guys, brand new to this forum, but I've been reading the posts for a few weeks now. I have been wanting a smoker, and craving good Q a lot. I love to cook on weekends off and try something new and challenging.

Which brings me to my point... I need help figuring out what smoking device will suit my needs short and long term. When I first began looking around I thought I would just start with a small electric, but the more I contemplate and read, the more it seems I should go real fire first, as anything less will just make me want to switch later. It does seem that wood fire smoking is more difficult and temperamental, but I did say I'm into challenging.

What would anyone recommend for jumping in head first? I'm confident with the clear experience here that I can get advice through just about any style. I hear a lot about the WSM, and now the PBC. What do you recommend for a new guy?
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:06 PM   #2
flyingbassman5
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WSM or UDS are great choices for a newbie. A PBC is as well but with the PBC you lose the learning curve of actually tending a fire.

IMHO a PBC is a good "next step" smoker because the way it is designed and operates, it forces you to learn to let go of the pit probe and constant temp checking and to focus on just letting the meat cook. It takes you back to just throwing meat over fire and letting it cook. Learn fire management and maintaining good temps with a UDS or WSM first, and then add a PBC for those days that you just want to throw the meat on and sit and drink beer.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:08 PM   #3
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For me the ultimate is a real smokehouse.

You can start small and many people are doing good stuff with a propane fueled chip pan. I too like a challange and making a day of tending the smoker and enjoying a few beverages is a good time in my book.

I do also have a small brinkman propane smoker and use it for small work or cheese with the AMAZE-N-SMOKER and it works well. ( I did add another regulator and fuel valve to get better control of the heat).

Side box stick burner is another inexpensive route to start. Or you can spend as much as you like and buy many options, Yoder, Stump, assassin, lang, or custom made.

Here is a few links of smoke house cooks

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=172692

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...89#post2656989

http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/...mokehouse.html
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:12 PM   #4
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uds or wsm are great to start out on. To learn the "art" of good Q I would recomend a stick burner. That being said I started out on a wsm knock off and used it for years. But I will say after converting to a stick burner there is no going back. Good luck on your new vice.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:20 PM   #5
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you know something, this email was a lot like my first few here. I researched like crazy looking for the right Q to get going. I really think you need to decide what type of cooking you plan on.

If it were me starting over again, I would get a weber OTG to start. learn the basics i.e.. fire control, direct and indirect, smoking etc. But that is just me.

Also, take into account that a smoker has a very specific function. If you buy a quality smoker and dont want to just smoke then you will need another Q for the other functions. Again, the OTG will really do a lot for you and it will be your go to.

For me starting out I should have asked myself what kind of cooking do I want to do?

If it is just smoking then I would say jump into a smoker. If you want to grill, smoke, indirect cook etc... then you need to look at alternative cookers. For me, had I known this answer, I may not have jumped right into a WSM. I wound up selling my smoker last week because it wasnt the right tool for me. I want something that does it all. For now my weber OTG will do the trick, but I am saving for a kamado Joe, the most versatile cooker in my opinion for the guys that wants all in one.

I was lucky that I didnt lose my shirt on selling my WSM, but for me, I am more of a griller and the odd smoker. So I really couldnt justify the WSM. My OTG is getting crazy use as I love grilling and cooking indirect. I did and excellent rack of ribs on them the other day and I find that it is way more versatile than the single purpose of a WSM smoker.

Anyways, just my opinion. Really know what you want to do before you invest. I can not wait to get my Kamado Joe. But it was trial by error for me, and I had to dive in to realize what I wanted. I would have never known had I not purchased the WSM.


Good luck
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:20 PM   #6
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I'd say WSM if you want a easy ready to cook on unit or UDS if you can build it
I spent some yrs with my offset making some great food but love my WSM
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:24 PM   #7
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Flip a coin between UDS , WSM or PBC..........or better yet get all 3! UDS will or can give you the most cooking space.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:37 PM   #8
RClark115
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I do have a gas grill I use for general cooking, but recently I have been grilling tri tips, and most recently I did a brisket on the gas grill (and believe it or not is was pretty tasty). So I feel smoked bbq is the natural next step.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RClark115 View Post
I do have a gas grill I use for general cooking, but recently I have been grilling tri tips, and most recently I did a brisket on the gas grill (and believe it or not is was pretty tasty). So I feel smoked bbq is the natural next step.
You can learn a lot about fire tending and smoking with a Weber kettle. Many inexpensive modifications are possible. With the knowledge gained reading here, you will have a basis to decide which direction you wish to go.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:47 PM   #10
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Love hearing that you're looking to jump in. My first question would be, "What are your goals?" If you like tinkering, adding wood, opening dampers, closing them, cooking indirectly, you're going to go offset. There are diff smokers with different goals.

Either way your going to have fun!
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Unread 10-16-2013, 03:22 AM   #11
sliding_billy
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I would say a WSM 22.5" to start. Great capacity with an easier learning curve than a stick burner. If you get hooked (and you will), there are plenty of places to go from there.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 05:52 AM   #12
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I'm a stick burner fan.
An offset isn't that bad to cook on, it does take time as you need to tend to it.
Also an offset gives you the option to smoke or grill.

As said above, look at your goals then see what cooker fits them.
Best of luck to you.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 06:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sliding_billy View Post
I would say a WSM 22.5" to start. Great capacity with an easier learning curve than a stick burner. If you get hooked (and you will), there are plenty of places to go from there.
^Do this to start, or maybe a 26.75 OGT if your budget will allow it! You will learn they are very versatile, obviously direct grilling but also some great slow smoking, CI cooking and even pizzas all at a good entry price point. Once addicted, you can consider anything from a UDS/WSM to a stickburner (my personal favorite).

And welcome to the forum!
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Unread 10-16-2013, 06:31 AM   #14
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Default Tennis shoes a bicycle and Betty Ford

Before you commit start a walking 2 miles minimum and 1'30" bike program to abate the inevitable weight gain. Keep Betty's number on your speed dial for when your weekend sixer advances to a weekend 30'er.

All the above are symptoms and when you reach 15 cooking machines dial the phone. I recently sold three to get back to 11, or is it twelve cookers. Regardless I don't have to give up beer, and I have an ice pack on my right knee and a heating pad on my left.

But to your question-finally. If you are buying new, look for a manufacturers plate that says "Made in USA". Use a custom pit builder. If you buy used or Craigslist, your not helping foreign or domestic economies (no sales or VAT taxes) so load the patio up with "scores". Q'ing is not like the local ladies club golf championship where you're surrounded by rules queens. You own it in your kingdom. Take control of your scene-cook and post pics.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 08:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
WSM or UDS are great choices for a newbie. A PBC is as well but with the PBC you lose the learning curve of actually tending a fire.
I'm a little confused by this. I don't want to restart the UDS/WSM/PBC debate, but there is no more or less fire tending with the WSM, UDS or PBC. All three are designed to be easy to use and maintain temp. The UDS and WSM just give you more flexibility in choosing a cook temp, but once set, there is no fire tending.

RClark115, you didn't mention how many people you are cooking for or what you budget is. Those are important things to know in making a recommendation.
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